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U.S. Intelligence Community: Impacts of Climate Change Raise the Risk of Conflict in 2018

Dan_Coats_official_DNI_portrait

Official portrait of DNI Director Dan Coats, 10 March 2017

For the past ten years, beginning with the last year of the George W. Bush Administration, the U.S. intelligence community (IC) has annually warned policy-makers of the security implications of climate change. This year is the eleventh. Yesterday, during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the National Intelligence Council (NIC) Director Dan Coats released the annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment,” which reflects the perspective of the entire U.S. intelligence community regarding the most significant risks to national security. Notably, the assessment includes a robust section titled “Environment and Climate Change” which not only details a range of security threats related to climate change, but also asserts that these risks, combined with other natural resources stresses, “are likely to fuel economic and social discontent–and possibly upheaval–through 2018.” In other words, the U.S. intelligence community believes these threats are not on the distant horizon, but rather, already occurring and likely to increase political instability this very year. (more…)

Chronology of Military and Intelligence Concerns About Climate Change

Climate and Security Week in Review Global MapAs we look toward a new Administration in the United States, and the path forward on addressing the myriad threats in a rapidly-changing geostrategic landscape, it’s worth having a clearer understanding of how the U.S. national security community has come to  its current level of concern about climate change. This concern didn’t happen overnight, or under a single administration. Rather, it’s the culmination of decades of assessments stretching back to the end of the Cold War. (more…)

Climate Change in the 2015 World Wide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community

James_R._Clapper_official_portraitOn February 26, 2015, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper presented the World Wide Threat Assessment for the US Intelligence Community Statement for the Record to the Senate Armed Services Committee. A significant portion of the assessment highlighted risks associated with the impact of climate-exacerbated extreme weather events on global food and water security (see below for those excerpts). The assessment also looked at how climate change is a factor in increasing human security risks related to infectious diseases. (more…)

Conclusions from the NRC Report “Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis”

The National Research Council’s recently released report “Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis,” commissioned by the CIA, has been released, and contains a lot of interesting information and recommendations. Leaving most of the analysis for you to read, we wanted to highlight some of the report’s conclusions and recommendations. The report brief indicates that the conclusions fall under three broad categories: “…climate-security connections; improving understanding, monitoring, and analysis; and anticipating climate-related threats.” Below are excerpts of the conclusions, from the report brief, under each heading: (more…)